Officers of the BLS

Dr. Rebecca Yahr - President

Becky Yahr studied botany at University of California, Davis, then worked as a field botanist for a few years and became enamoured of lichens sometime in the 1990s. She researched the association between fungi and their algae in lichens for her PhD at Duke University before moving to Scotland. Becky is now Lichenologist at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and her current work includes inventory work and species biology studies for conservation priority habitats in the UK in addition to teaching and outreach about lichens, biodiversity and conservation.

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Neil Sanderson - Vice President

Neil Sanderson Neil A Sanderson, is one of Britain’s top field lichenologists, with experience extending from south west England, to northern Scotland. A special interest is the relationship of Britain’s internationally important woodland and parkland lichens floras to land use history, current management and habitat conditions. The challenges of conserving lichen floras dependent on long continuity and stability in a rapidly changing environment are a particular concern.

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Dr. Paul Cannon - Past President and Chair of Data Committee

Paul Cannon has worked in fungal systematics for ore than half his life, moving over to the Dark Side after completing a PhD on legume classification. His early education at the Commonwealth Mycological Institute (subsequently IMI) included an appreciation that lichens are fungi too, and should be integrated into the overall fungal taxonomic scheme. Most of his professional life has involved studying leaf parasites, but he turned up at the BLS 50th Anniversary Meeting at Nettlecombe in 2008 and unwisely volunteered to become Editor of the Bulletin. The lichen “bug” rapidly took hold, and his current interests revolve around fieldwork, lichen imaging and web development. He now works at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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Eluned Smith - Council Secretary

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Sandy Coppins - Communications Secretary

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John Skinner - Treasurer

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Dr. Janet Simkin - Recording Scheme and Database

Janet Simkin studied botany at Cambridge but her interest in lichens dates back even further, to a school project on churchyard lichens. She was distracted for a while by a career in software development before returning to academic life to research the ecology of the lichen-rich grasslands contaminated by lead mining. Now a lecturer at Newcastle University she has a special interest in species-rich grasslands and anthropogenic plant communities, and her work involves a fascinating but often confusing mix of research, surveys and teaching. In the BLS she has been involved in developing our database and website.

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Dr. Chris Ellis - Senior Editor of The Lichenologist

Chris Ellis is joint Senior Editor of The Lichenologist along with Leena Myllys (University of Helsinki). Chris was introduced to lichens through a postdoc working on lichen physiology with Peter Crittenden (University of Nottingham) and then trained on lichen diversity with Brian Coppins at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE), where is now Head of Cryptogam Section and Co-ordinator for RBGE’s Scottish Conservation Science. Chris has particular interests in ecology and the response of lichens to environmental change.

Maxine Putnam - Bulletin Editor

Maxine PutnamMaxine studied botany at Bristol University before a short period in literature research with a pharmaceutical company. She then became editor of a microbiology journal in London for a number of years and is now Bulletin Editor for the Society. Her interest in lichens began in 2008 whilst living on the coast in North Devon, a county with an impressive list of species. Maxine has worked on recording for the New Flora of Devon as well as the BTO’s Bird Atlas (2007-2011) and submits lichen records to the Society’s database annually. For the past 7 years she has been leading workshops and field meetings for beginners in the study of lichens for both the Devon and Cornwall Wildlife Trusts and has been involved in two of Plantlife’s education programmes as tutor.

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Bryan Edwards - Conservation Officer and Chair of Conservation Committee

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Fay Newbery - Chair of Education and Promotions Committee

Fay Newbery studied botany as an undergraduate but left natural history to teach mathematics for a number of years. Returning later to plant science she studied for a Masters in Plant Diversity at the University of Reading which revived her interest in lichens. A PhD in plant pathology then followed and employment as a plant pathologist with the Royal Horticultural Society. Fay is now becoming interested in lichenicolous fungi which include the pathogens of the lichen world.

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Steve Price – Field Meetings Secretary    

Steve Price worked as a nature reserves officer for Derbyshire Wildlife Trust. He first developed an interest in lichens to better understand some of the Peak District oak woodlands in his charge. A product of the Frank Dobson school of lichenology, Steve's interest in lichens developed further through contact with other experienced lichenologists in the BLS and soon became a passion. Steve is the lichen recorder for Derbyshire.

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Prof. Mark Seaward - Archivist and Mapping Recorder

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Theresa Greenaway - Librarian

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Richard Brinklow - Herbarium Curator

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Graham Boswell - Data Protection Officer

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Chris Cant - Webmaster

Chris CantSince November 2020, Chris Cant has been helping to run the BLS websites and email system. He has been interested in lichens since 2018, has helped set up the Cumbria Lichen and Bryophyte group, runs their website and produces the lichen and byrophyte interactive species maps on there. Chris is a professional programmer/coder and maintains several websites for charities in the voluntary/conservation sector.

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